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Recent Tasting Notes
Using around 4g, 90ml at 185F
I absolutely adore the smell. Extremely milky and creamy and just lingers in your nose and throat after inhaling.
Started off with a quick wash and I let the tea relax. The smell gets much stronger and adopts a creamy, vegetable smell to it.
One very important thing to note about this tea is that it’s incredibly sensitive to steeping times. If you steep this tea for too long (or too hot), it tastes like spinach mixed with seaweed or something of the like. Honestly making it taste disgusting. But with shallow infusions, it will convert the aroma into the tea itself.
Steep times were as follows: 4s, 5s, 8s, 12s, 15s, + others (lost count, was in a long conversation)
If anyone is following how I’m making this tea, you’ll probably notice that the color looks to be very faint for the first steep. This is normal. You’ll notice that drinking the tea from the first steep results in a very strong floral taste, no bitterness, only a /very/ slight vegetable taste (just enough to be pleasant), and really creamy. The predominant flavours are osmanthus and ‘cream’ for the lack of a better word. The creaminess is generally sweet as well.
The following few steeps encompass a very smooth osmanthus and floral aroma, with a creamy vehicle as means of deliverance.
Things to note: This tea maintains the floral and creamy osmanthus throughout the entire tea session. If you start tasting it bitter or vegetal, you have steeped it for too long. If it started tasting like that from the get-go, heat could also be a factor.
Overall, a pretty decent milk oolong. I personally think the ‘premium silky green’ from bird pick is a better milk oolong, despite it being marketed as green tea (it’s not, it’s definitely milk oolong).
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Floral, Milk, Osmanthus, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal
I’ve wanted to try Kuding for over a year now; ever since the Christmas before last Christmas where I was working at Calendar Club and one of the P/T staff was a Chinese exchange student who told me about how her family drank gallons of it every day for the “health benefits”. She said they drank more kuding than actual tea! That seemed so contrary to what I know about China as a tea consuming country that I just had to see what the big deal was.
I’ll admit; when I saw this in the box I didn’t immediately recognize it as kuding. Everything I’ve read about it online has made the tightly wound holly leaves/spikes sound so much bigger than these ones actually are. Plus, the name of the “tea” threw me as well: it’s marketed as a green tea!? That’s definitely not right. Also, silly anecdote: the writing on the baggy makes this look like it says “Jasmine Slime” and so I spent much of my cup pondering where the fuck the ‘slime’ part of the name came from. I thought maybe the liquor colour? It is a very chartreuse-y green, which I suppose is kind of a slime green? But nope; the package actually says SLIM and I just read it wrong.
I wish this wasn’t jasmine scented: I get that it’s probably to make this less bitter tasting as kuding is traditionally quite bitter but as someone who’s been waiting a year+ to try kuding I wish I could have tried the unadulterated version. As is, this tastes almost solely of jasmine/floral notes with only a bit of a vegetal/earthy undertone. Also, it actually doesn’t really taste bitter to me at all?
It’s strange; I seem to have had a much different experience than either two people who’ve currently reviewed this one Steepster. Huh. It’s weird ‘cause I’d kind of built this up in my head as something that’d likely be an awful experience and now that I’ve tried it and it wasn’t awful I feel actually quite let down?
EDIT: I used four “sticks” for my cup.
Surprisingly, I haven’t review this yet. Was pretty sure I had.
Anyway, there is a kinda roasted grain scent. I also get a bit or toast or nuts. The flavour reminds a bit of houjicha, except more mild. It has that similar nutty taste. Got the sample because it sounded interesting, and it turned out pretty good.
Flavors: Grain, Nuts, Nutty, Roasted, Toast
Wow, fresh indeed! Unfortunately it’s more along the lines of fresh vegetation than fresh flowers as I had hoped. Probably not a bad tea, but one of the most vegetal teas I’ve ever smelled or tasted. Which is not at all to my taste. There might have been the tiniest hint of floral hiding out in there, but I spit out the one sip I took and am not interested in trying another. I’ll be sending the rest off to Amanda SoggyEnderman with hopes she’ll find vegetal notes more preferable than I do. It’s a huge bag though, so if anyone wants me to take out a sample for them let me know!
Flavors: Cut grass, Seaweed, Spinach, Vegetal
First tasting note for this one? Now I feel rotten it took me this long to write a review. Thanks for the samples a while back, Bird Pick! I had to sip this one today because I feel terrible I haven’t reviewed it yet. Sweet yet vegetal fragrance to the dark green tightly rolled bundles. All three steeps were delicious, with the main characteristic of this oolong being very sweet. The steeps get better and better though – with the second steep having hints of peach. I think I steeped it with the best parameters possible. The third definitely wasn’t bitter or oversteeped — just gets deeper with flavor, though this one isn’t distinct enough to make it my favorite oolong. It can’t really be put in any of the vegetal, floral, butter/milk, or fruity oolong types. This is a sweet and subtle oolong, maybe for those who don’t want a strong oolong. This is delicious but there are so many good oolongs out there!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsp // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // ?? min a.b. // ?? min steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
ooooh, this is soooo gooooood.
Another tea from Plunkybug (I’m having a Plunkybug tea day today! Thanks!).
I don’t think I’ve ever had a flavoured houjicha, and this is really, really good.
Perfect nighttime tea, actually. :)
Hints of caramel add to the warmth that houjicha brings to the mug…so comfy and yummy!
Tasting note #1,700! Whoa. I’m sure not many of you are reading these at this point, but after around 1,700 teas, the tasting notes are definitely a little for my memory.
Thank you for the samples, BirdPick.com! I’m beginning to figure out flavor profiles for oolong at the most part, and to my mind, Ali Shan is usually the most savory. These tight jade green bundles don’t have much of a fragrance to them as a dry leaf. This is slightly savory, it’s buttery and a little salty. Cooled, the flavor is turning into the peaches and cream type flavor that I had with the green tea yesterday. I’m much more accustomed to a peach flavor in oolong than green tea. The second and third steeps are tougher to decipher. They seem like a mixture of those oolong characteristics. It’s a good oolong but I always wish each oolong I drink to be ONE of the oolong characteristics like fruity/peachy, floral, milky or savory. This one seems to be bits and pieces of these and other flavors. I don’t think I ruined this one by my steeping parameters though – the leaves seemed to work this way, but it’s a bit of a mystery.
Steep #1 // 1 heaping tsp // 10 minutes after boiling // rinse // mug filled 2/3 full // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 6 min a.b. // 2 min steep
Steep #3 // 4 min a.b. // 2 min steep
Thanks for the samples, Bird Pick! The leaves here look tasty – long dusty black and wiry, with the scent of something fruity like plums or cherry. But the flavor is a bit of a let down. It’s very light and kind of like Ceylon which isn’t my favorite at all. The light brown brew is slightly bready with HINTS of those stone fruits with a bit of tanginess but otherwise tough to describe. I’m not doing this one justice at all, but I don’t think I have the love enough to do this one justice. I SHOULD love this one more, just for the stone fruits alone, but it doesn’t come together well enough for me. It’s the Ceylon type flavor that throws it for me. Maybe figuring out how to steep it perfectly would help.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsps. for 11 ounce mug // 13 minutes after boiling // 2-3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Many thanks to Amariel for this tea!
I tried this yesterday, and wasn’t sure what to say about it. The dry tea smells lovely, and looks like it has some huge leaves rolled up there. It’s floral, and slightly green smelling.
Steeped, it unfortunately has some of the oolong flavour that’s really hard for me to describe that I do not like. I’ve called it things like “seaweedy” before. That’s sort of it. This tea is mostly floral, I’m guessing from the osmanthus as well as the tea itself. The texture is nice, not too thin even though I was doing shortish steeps. But something about the flavour just hits my tastebuds the wrong way.
Thank you Amariel for sharing, but I don’t think this is for me.
Again, I have the Double Ginger version of this. Only I forgot to strain it. So that was exciting, dumping it out of one mug and into another through a strainer… thankfully my counter remained mostly dry.
My tummy hurts, and so ginger is good. I supposed I could grate fresh ginger and add sugar or honey and cook it, but that feels like so much effort when you’re not feeling great.
And thankfully this tea is helping (more than the big spoonful of peanut butter, haha) and so soon I should be able to head back out in search of loonies for laundry.
I have the Double Ginger, from Amariel, which is just this plus dried ginger bits.
It’s really strong. Super spicy. I steeped it 5 minutes then pulled out the ginger chunks – she warned me it wouldn’t all dissolve, so I did use a basket.
I really like this, but don’t see that it’s much different from the ginger packets I get at the Asian market. I’m not sure that the dried ginger pieces really add a lot of extra flavour… not like grating fresh ginger into it does. (Yes, I’ve done that…)
So while I do like this and will no doubt finish it all rapidly, I don’t think I’d go out of my way to get it.
The caramel houjicha, however. I’m really looking forward to a cup of that one. Mmm, caramel tea. AND I have whipping cream. And maple syrup. :D :D
Thanks so much for sharing, Amariel!
So after a few days of nothing but chai and double ginger, to soothe my tummy, I decided to break this out and try it since I was feeling a bit better. I seem to remember the store noting a pineapple note, and I could smell it in the container there, but not here, nor could I taste it. However, I did get a slight juicy note in addition to the creamy aspects, so maybe that was it.
As the other reviews have said, this is a very drinkable milk oolong, and for whatever reason, milk oolongs are one of the few I can drink straight, without any sweetener in it at all. So I had two steeps of this while I went about my day and got things accomplished before my tummy started acting up and I switched back to double ginger.
I’d say it is a comparable replacement for my Teaopia milk oolong.
So I bought some eggnog on sale at the grocery store, and my new plan is to sip down some samples I wasn’t overly fond of plain, by drinking them with eggnog. :) I’m a bit too lazy to go the full eggnog latte route, so instead I’m just brewing the tea strong (2 tsp steeped in an 8oz mug maybe 3/4 full x 5min) and then topping the mug off with eggnog. This actually worked really well for this tea – it’s a cinnamon-flavoured CTC black, so it’s probably intended to be consumed with milk and sugar added. The cinnamon was strong enough to hold its own against the eggnog flavour, and I drank the whole thing down pretty quickly. So, I’m going to call that a win. :)
This sample came from my holiday package from cookies. I really like melon and melon-flavored things, and honeydew happens to be my favorite. It just so happens that I also enjoy a nice sencha, so this tea seems perfect for me! I’m surprised I didn’t request it myself when I got my free Bird Pick samples… Anyway! The sencha leaves are nice and intact, somewhat large and steamed flat. There are also some golden flower petals included in the blend. Dry scent is nicely sweet and melon-y with perhaps a touch of fishiness? Odd.
The steeped tea also smells like sweet, crisp honeydew with a bit of a fish edge. The green tea itself is actually quite savory, which makes for an odd combination with the sweet honeydew. It in fact has a strong umami characteristic which almost borders on fishy (but not quite). The combination of the base and the honeydew almost reminds me of eating jicama or a similar crunchy but wet vegetable (broccoli stems? raw potato?). It’s not bad, it’s just a bit odd. I think this is just a case of the wrong choice of base tea for the flavoring.
Flavors: Grass, Honeydew, Nutty, Potato, Umami, Vegetal
This is the next-oldest untried sample from my cupboard! This was actually a free sample from Bird Pick, thanks guys! I must say, I’m quite surprised that all these giant leaves are intact inside the little resealable pouch – I fully expected them to be at least somewhat broken. They’re long and flat (almost like they’ve been ironed) and they kind of remind me of kelp or something. Dry scent is mildly vegetal and grassy with a lot of sweetness. I didn’t really know how much to use, so I just put a bunch of leaves in my basket and then added one more for good measure. :P
The steeped tea is very pale in color, and smells mild and creamy with sweet vegetal notes. Hmm… this is not what I expected. It actually tastes like a Japanese green to me. It’s quite savory with strong seaweed notes. It does have a creamy and nutty taste, but in a savory way. The aftertaste is somewhat grassy but light and refreshing. Not what I expected, but not bad! Next time, I would use more leaf, as it was just a tiny bit on the weak side.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Umami
Back to trying everything in my cupboard! Since it’s getting to be later in the evening (8 PM here) I’m going to skip a few and try only teas with low or no caffeine. This one is part houjicha, which is supposedly low in caffeine, and part rooibos, so I think I’m safe. This is actually a free sample from Bird Pick (they’ll send you a few free samples if you email them). It appears to be mostly houjicha. Dry scent is somewhat sweet and caramel-y and reminds me of richly sweet dried fruits like figs, dates, and prunes.
The steeped tea has a strong roasted aroma, though I can still smell a bit of that richly sweet smell (somewhat like molasses). The taste is pretty straightforward – roasted/autumn leafy from the houjicha mixed with the woody flavor of the red rooibos. I can’t really taste the caramel much until the very end, where it manifests as a sort of boozy fig flavor. I wish there was more of that throughout the sip. Overall, pretty tasty but could be improved.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dates, Fig, Molasses, Roasted, Rum, Sweet, Wood